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Title: The requirement of English language proficiency for graduation in Taiwanese universities : its impact on non-English majors and their English curruculum
Author: Lin, Shwu-Wen
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2010
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Abstract:
In response to government's policy to improve English language proficiency of university students, some Taiwanese universities now require their students to reach a certain level of proficiency, as evidenced through scores obtained from formal language tests, before they are allowed to graduate. Various English language proficiency tests are dictated in the requirements of different universities. This study examined the impact of such requirements on the English for Academic Purposes curriculum for non-English majors, on the English classroom teaching and learning and on the students themselves. Data were collected from two universities, one with the graduation requirement, and the other without, through classroom observations of sixteen English lessons and interviews with seven teachers and nineteen students. In addition, the learning power of a selective sample of 454 students (including the interviewees) from these two universities was assessed, using the Effective Lifelong Learning Inventory. The research findings indicate that the washback of the locally-developed English proficiency test, the General English Proficiency Test (GEPT), on teaching and learning was evident, although limited. The influence of other language tests was minimal. Furthermore, the GEPT washback seemed to have resulted less from the implementation of the requirement per se, than the importance of the test as viewed by the general public. The implementation of the requirement seemed to have reinforced the influence of the GEPT in universities. The students' learning power can offer some insights into understanding their varied perceptions of the graduation requirement and its impact. Students with stronger learning power, and in particular those with a higher level of resilience to challenges and difficulties were more likely to prioritise their English learning and test taking over simply fulfilling the requirement. Those with weaker learning power and lower resilience experienced a higher level of anxiety in taking English language tests to meet the graduation requirement. This present study is significant in two ways. Conceptually, it took into consideration the social agenda of a language test, a crucial factor in understanding the impact of the graduation requirement and the test. Methodologically, the exploration of students' learning power offered opportunities to better understand their varied perceptions of test impact.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.535468  DOI: Not available
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